Otter Creek reclassification questioned


As part of Monday’s selectboard meeting, the board briefly discussed the reclassification of the Otter Creek wetlands. Selectman Timothy Guiles reported he attended a meeting held by the steering committee to get a petition filed to change the wetlands from a Class II to a Class I wetlands.

“It costs us nothing to support this and protect the wetlands more,” Guiles said. “Having the largest wetlands in New England would be a draw for the area.”

Hopkins asked Guiles to clarify if it was a study or an advocacy group and Guiles said the group was advocating to have the change made.

“It seems like an awful lot of effort for such a little change,” Selectman Doug Bailey said. “My biggest fear is we go down this path and they’ll say you can’t spray larvicide or pesticide.”

The BLSG mosquito district chairman Ben Lawton was on hand and he agreed with Bailey.

“I think it’s an end-run by the Toxic Actions Center,” Lawton said, referring to a group of Salisbury residents who recently withdrew a lawsuit they had filed against the bug district for a permitting snafu.

Guiles assured Lawton that the steering committee claims they have no jurisdiction regarding mosquito districts.

After a question from Hopkins, Guiles confirmed the group was also not soliciting selectboard endorsements and that if the board wanted to either support or oppose this action, they would have to do so before the petition was filed in August, although they can still go forward with their petition without the board’s support.

The steering committee to reclassify the Otter Creek Wetlands is holding a public information meeting on June 25, in Cornwall. Interested parties are encouraged to attend.

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